• China ponders: Are a few big hydropower projects better than many small ones?

    China is moving aggressively to build dams along the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, in part to protect the Three Gorges Dam, but can such hydropower development be done better? “It’s not just dams versus no dams,” one expert says; “It’s about elegant dams”

  • Asteroid collision: How to defend Earth, II

    Asteroid impacts are much rarer than hurricanes and earthquakes, but they have the potential to do much greater damage; moreover, what if an asteroid hits Earth in the Middle East or the Asian subcontinent? Such an event could be misinterpreted as a nuclear attack — both produce a bright flash, a blast wave, and raging winds; the result may be a nuclear war

  • Developing enzymes to clean up pollution by explosives

    Demolitions used in war, or on testing grounds, contaminate the soil; Canadian researchers develop an enzyme that cleans up such pollution

  • How high is the risk of civilization-killing asteroids?

    Planetary bombardments: scientists at a planets meeting discuss the risks of an asteroid colliding with Earth; researchers are worried about asteroid Apophis, which will come uncomfortably close to Earth on 13 April 2029; one scientist said that “It’s 10 times more likely that an unknown asteroid will slam into us from behind while you’re looking at Apophis”

  • U.S. military jets, vehicles to run on biofuels and animal-corpse grease

    Honeywell says the U.S. Air Force will buy 400,000 gallons of algae/weeds/corpse-fat jet fuel, and the U.S. Navy will take 190,000 gallons

  • Mafia's new business: sinking nuclear waste at sea

    The Sicilian Mafia had muscled in on the lucrative business of radioactive waste disposal; to increase the profit margin, mafia operatives blow up and sink the ships at sea rather than process the nuclear waste on board

  • Methane mining in Africa could unleash deadly gas cloud

    Lake Kivu, on the Rwanda-Congo border, contains a vast reservoir of dissolved methane; many companies are extracting the gas to burn for electricity production, and both Rwanda and Congo are aggressively courting further investment in extraction plants; scientists say that the rush to extract the methane might trigger an outburst of gas that could wash a deadly, suffocating blanket over the 2 million people

  • Home power plants project unveiled in Germany

    Two German companies unveil plans for installing gas-fired power plants in people’s basements; in the coming year the program will install 100,000 of the mini plants, producing among them 2,000 megawatts of electricity, the same as two nuclear plants

  • Using waste to recover waste uranium

    Researchers find that a combination of bacteria and inositol phosphate can be used to recover uranium from the polluted waters from uranium mines; method may be used to process nuclear waste

  • Radiation is a constant presence in our lives

    The normal radiation we are exposed to causes the following: For every 100 million people, there will be 4,100 fatal cancers, 2,500 nonfatal cancers, 4,600 genetic defects (not all of which are obvious); for every additional mrem per person per year, the above rates will increase .67 percent

  • Scientists: Risky schemes may be only hope for cooling planet

    The Royal Society says that many geo-engineering ideas to keep the planet cool may be risky, but they may also be the planet’s only hope if politicians fail to deal with climate change

  • Climate models do not take inland water's carbon cycling into account

    Streams, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and wetlands play an important role in the carbon cycle that is unaccounted for in conventional carbon cycling models; inland waters represent only 1 percent of the Earth’s surface, but their contribution to the carbon cycle is disproportionately large

  • Saving the planet: Plan B

    Top U.K. science organization calls for coordinated geoengineering efforts as Plan B for protecting the planet from the negative consequences of climate change

  • How life will survival in a post-apocalypse blackout

    What if asteroid impacts, massive volcanic eruptions, or large-scale wildfires were to plunge our planet into abnormal darkness” It happened several times in the past; life will continue with a little help from organisms that can switch to another source of energy while they wait for sunlight to pierce the darkness once more

  • Cost versus safety debated at Albany, N.Y. chemical plant location

    Greenpeace backs federal proposal for tougher chemical plant safety rules, but an Albany firm — and the chemical industry more generally — fear expense